Tip 1 – DON’T FORGET TO LAUGH and enjoy learning
Don’t forget to laugh. You find it hilarious when it “rains cats and dogs”? You can laugh about yourself trying to pronounce: “Sister Susie is sitting on a thistle”? Congratulations- you’re on a good way to becoming an English expert! Language can be so funny. Remember- it is only learning English. No rocket science and no nuclear physics- just learning English
Tip 2 – connect english to your everyday life
Try to connect the English language to your everyday life. You can start listening to English podcasts while you are driving to work. Why not write entries in your diary in English or start to write little short stories. What about making an English shopping list next time you go out to buy your groceries. You can start using English as the language for your Instagram or Facebook posts as well, and see what others might have to answer. What about writing something that might kick off a bit of a discussion?
Tip 3 – learn more about different cultures
Try to see learning English as a way to get to know more about different culture, mentality, food, animal life, landscape and geography and history of varied other countries and try to get excited about being able to open this big treasure box that learning a language can provide. It is not a cliché – becoming an English expert will lead you to new experiences, new challenges and new horizons. Take the challenge and go!
Tip 4 – Forget perfection
Forget perfection. Being an expert doesn’t mean doing things perfectly in every way. What is the sense in trying to write something that no one corrects for spelling or grammar mistakes or in speaking English with a wrong pronunciation? Well language is all about communication and connecting to other people. Just think about it: Would you like to have a perfect boyfriend or girlfriend? Maybe, but it would be a very one-sided relationship. Trying to learn English perfectly will turn the learning process into a very one-sided activity. We all make mistakes and mastering English at the level of full fluency is very difficult with this language’s richness of idioms, phrasal verbs, puns. Don’t kill your love for the language with anxiety over speaking it perfectly.
Tip 5 – LEARN ENGLISH WHILE SURFING THE INTERNET
Learn English while surfing the net. In the past, former generations had to go to the library and look it all up there. These days, we get most of our information from the internet. I’m not saying you can’t borrow a Shakespeare play from the library. Read as many English books as possible! Good literature is great. But why do most people get lost in the internet and start looking at pictures of cats and dogs and the like? Maybe you should reduce your Facebook-time by 20 minutes and start to listen to a great English podcast, go through a song text, follow a discussion on an English forum or read English online newspapers like the New York Times or the Guardian. You can become a fan of English Newspapers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, too.
Tip 6 – Connect English to your hobby
Connecting learning English to your hobby. You can become an English expert in no time if you read about your hobby in English. If you are interested in art and design you can start browsing the web for articles and interesting blog posts. You could follow some interesting designers or architects and connect to other enthusiasts. Philosophy, Religion, Politics, Science, Maths or Physics, technical issues, DIY projects, trains, aviation, Formula 1, opera, Jazz music, gardening, knitting, playing chess, photography- whatever you like I promise you if you read enough about it in English you won’t only become an expert in your hobby, you will also become an English expert!
Tip 7 – Go WITH THE FLOW
Trying to go with the flow. Borrow an interesting book but please don’t look up every single word for its exact meaning. Why not? Because language learning is also about guessing right and staying excited about the sound and the flow of a language. If you are super excited about looking up words in your dictionary – keep it to yourself. For interrupting a talking Native Speaker is the same. No one will mind you asking for a word, especially if you don’t have a clue and it keeps coming up in conversation. But learning English and becoming an English expert is also about the flow of a language, about love and passion for the beauty of a language. Don’t kill it with trying to pick the grains. Sometimes words have several meanings.
Tip 8 – Meet native speakers
Meet with Native Speakers. This is neither a new tip nor a secret but it is one of the most efficient ways to become an English expert. But how will you contact English Native Speakers? Some of the Britons, Americans, Irish, Aussis or native speakers from whatever country living in Germany have heard Germans saying to them “What about you teach me some English, I teach you some German” many times and are bored of it or might not have the time to help someone out for nothing. My advice is to make real friendships with people and not just do it for the sake of learning a language. What will they get out of being your friend? Think about it.
Tip 9 – TALK TO TOURISTS
Try meeting tourists from an English speaking country. Show them around your city. Go to the best brewing house with them or show them the nicest over the river or tell them some of the anecdotes about your city’s history. I agree that might be easier to get in contact to tourists and break the ice if you live in Berlin or Munich but let’s say you were in an Irish Pub in Düsseldorf, what about being friendly and start talking to some of the tourists. This is more for outgoing, gutsy and extroverted people but you could go out with friends who are also interested in becoming English experts.
Tip 10 – Ask for advice
If you get stuck and don’t know how to get on in your language learning journey, try to find the solution to your problems and if you can’t, don’t be afraid to ask people for help. Normally people will be happy to share their advice and be helpful. And if they’re not? Their fault! They’ve just missed the chance to become English experts themselves. Because being an English expert is about helping other English learners and passing on your knowledge.
Tip 11 – Record new words
You should write down the new vocabulary you encounter. You need to prioritise your learning, recording the new words and phrases which will bring you closer to your usage-related goals. You can also create mind maps to show the connections between words. It is very important to write down an example of the context which you found the item in. This is necessary if you want to learn how to use the words, as words do not exist in isolation from each other, but as part of sentence.
Tip 12 – Set realistic goals
Learners often have unrealistic goals which they want to reach. You should set yourself goals which you are able to accomplish. It is better to study for fifteen minutes a day rather than doing 2 hours a week. Each of these baby steps will add up to a much bigger goal in the end. Doing this will help you gain independence and empower you as a learner.